Famous filming locations in South Wales

Find out where you can follow in the footsteps of your favourite film stars in South Wales!

Filmed in South Wales

Clare Willcocks on Feb 18, 2016

One of the things that strikes you when you visit Wales is the vast variety of natural beauty which the country exudes. The stunning beaches of the Gower Peninsula sprawl in golden contrast with the rolling hills, rushing rivers and serene lakes of the Brecon Beacons. Snowdonia in turn offers yet more captivating views and craggy, oft-snow-capped peaks, a breath-taking backdrop to the North Wales coast.

It is this rich diversity of world-class landscapes which has enticed film makers and producers to feature Wales prominently in their work, and South Wales has its fair share of screen time.

Starting on the Pembrokeshire Coast, scenes from Snow White and the Huntsman were filmed on Marloes Sands and close by is Freshwater West, where Shell Cottage provided a safe haven for Harry Potter and his friends in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The pretty fairytale construction was built especially for the film at the foot of the dunes and scenes with Dobby the House Elf were shot on the beach. While the cottage since been removed, the beach is still a beautiful place to visit, and one of Wales’ best surf spots.

Freshwater West turned up again in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, which saw an incredible battle sequence featuring Russell Crowe and a galloping tirade of horsemen along the shore. While there, the Hollywood star caused quite a stir, tipping £600 at the Carew Inn near Tenby, and reportedly extending his stay before travelling back to London so that he could camp on the beach.

No doubt most people are familiar with the hilarious TV series Gavin and Stacey which was filmed on Barry Island, close to Cardiff, but the city and its surrounds have also been the focus of many other features and films. Torchwood, Doctor Who and Merlin are among some of the more notable productions to have come out of the capital city, and it features in films including Human Traffic (with Danny Dyer) and sci-fi horror 28 Weeks Later.

Unsurprisingly, the idyllic Margam Country Park has been used several times as a filming location, in fact, there was a film crew shooting there when Helen, our colleague, went for her cottage holiday! Again, Doctor Who is one of the most notable, as well as drama series Da Vinci’s Demons. The park’s sprawling 850-acres encompasses an orangery and gardens, grade I listed Tudor Gothic Castle, a fairy-tale children’s village, a farm trail and even a deer herd, making it a wonderful family day out.

South Wales’ impressive CV of popular films and TV series just goes to highlight the wealth of beautiful and interesting places to visit, and if you can walk in the footsteps of some of your favourite stars while you’re at it – well, that’s just a bonus!

A focus on Margam Country Park

I was lucky enough to visit Margam Country Park on a trip to South Wales and was surprised at the amount on offer there. The park has an interesting history stretching back over 4,000 years, with Bronze and Iron Age relics found in the area. With its stunning castle and equally beautiful orangery, it’s not hard to understand why it has been chosen by many TV companies as a filming location. In fact, while I was there the castle was bustling with actors in period costume, cameras and film crews preparing in their trailers – an exciting highlight to any trip!

While it is a beautiful location for all, for families the park really is one of South Wales’ best kept secrets.

  • Children’s Fairytale Village – Miniature houses, giant chess, play areas, an adventure castle and an adventure trail will keep your little ones under 10 occupied for hours! (Spring/Summer)
  • Margam Park Train – Relax and take in spectacular views as you rumble through the landscape on board this diesel powered locomotive. (Spring/Summer)
  • The Castle – An impressive dominant piece of architecture, the castle houses the Visitor Centre in its courtyard and the great hallway is on display to the public. You’ll also find Charlotte’s Pantry open when visitor numbers allow.
  • The Orangery – An elegant and ornamental masterpiece, the orangery is home to a wonderful collection of citrus trees and continues to be used as for prestigious events.
  • The Gardens – A wander around the carefully tended gardens is a must!
  • Walking – There are several routes to choose from through various landscapes, including the ‘Wood Vibrations Trail’ with giant musical instruments made from felled trees.
  • Margam Deer Herd – Adults and children alike will be captivated by the majestic deer herd which can be seen roaming the park.
  • Activities – As if that were not enough to keep you busy, you can arrange canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, archery, raft building, mountain biking and Nordic walking with the Margam Activity Centre.
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